China prepares to project power with new cargo plane and navy ship

(From Popular Science)

Y-20 cargo aircraft and Type 901 ships to enter service soon

By Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer

It is said that when it comes to war, as General Omar Bradley put it, “Amateurs talk Strategy, Professionals talk logistics” and it is capability that has set the US military apart from other rivals. But two new projects show how China’s military is also rapidly building the logistical foundations for global expeditionary power. Both the Y-20 heavy transport aircraft and Type 901 replenishment ships have recently hit major milestones towards operational service.

"785" Y-20 military cargo plane prototype

“785” Y-20 military cargo plane prototype.  While currently fitted with Russian engines, it will be flying with more powerful Chinese WS-20 engines by 2020.

The Y-20 is a 200-ton, 7,800 km ranged four-engined heavy transport with a 66-ton payload. “788”, reportedly the fifth Y-20 prototype, flew in late 2015. Since then, reports suggest that the Y-20’s development has been completed and production will begin this year.

Built by Xian Aircraft Corporation, the Y-20 will soon be the heaviest military transport aircraft in production (Boeing has recently closed the C-17A Globemaster factory). Eventually, China will install more powerful WS-20 turbofan engines on the Y-20 to extend its range and shorten the runway needed during takeoff.

Additionally, the Y-20’s huge carrying capacity makes it a potential candidate to carry the same range of payloads that are envisioned for the C-17, from mobile hospitals to electronic warfare suites to a mothership for drones.

The Type 901 ship, clocking in at 45,000 tons of full displacement, can carry tens of thousands of tons in supplies such as marine and aviation fuel, ammunition, spare parts and food. Read more





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